Gordie Howe gave his teeth to hockey. It's a rough game and if you can't play hurt, you can't say you really played. And in the case of ice hockey, that usually meant you lost your teeth.
Gordie Howe was the first to score 1,000 goals. He is a Hall of Famer, played hockey in 5 different decades, with the record of the most games ever played in the NHL.
With a career on the ice until his 50s, he is so well respected, his number nine jersey has been honored or retired by three different teams.
There would be no way of knowing he just won the Stanley Cup if he was only standing there in sneakers. Because, let’s face it, even for a hockey player, much of our day will still require us to be Clark Kent, not Superman. That's a lot of time in front of people who must stare at your toothless grin.
Perhaps Gordie felt even vulnerable when he talked to normal people. Exposed. Different. An outsider with a mark many may consider low class.
Or maybe he didn’t feel he’d lost anything at all. Maybe he was too busy playing hockey.
Alternatively, perhaps when others gave him that glazed look, he felt stronger, an inner presence, knowing they had not a clue - not ignorance of who he was, but ignorance of what it took to be who he was.
Maybe the gap between his teeth was as big a trophy to him as the Stanley Cup
Maybe he never even considered any of this. Maybe he didn't think achieving greatness came at the price of losing a part of himself. Maybe he never gave a second thought to what it would cost to play the game.
Maybe Gordie Howe just simply lived without a body part others took for granted, and maybe he just focused on what he loved to do.
His zone was not standing in front of people who wore shoes. Shoes are slow and boring. His zone was not talking to normal people with teeth.
There's nothing to fight over with them. They only waste your time if you only really and truly live on the rink, when you've only got sixty minutes to be alive.
We don’t know what Gordie Howe felt about losing his teeth.
What we know is that he was willing to lose them.
Tyler Gooden is the director of the upcoming movie, TheFCStartMovie.com, the animated movie inspired by the true story of FC Start.
The Journey Continues